There is a shift right now as we come to the end of 2021. The shaking of this year is done, and after the storms. However, I feel the Lord warning the church that the Religious Spirit is on the prowl and has one major agenda – to stop the saints to recognise His voice and the unique factors of our season in preparation of the move that is coming.
Satan seeks to blind everyone in the church through various means. One of the keyways is through the religious spirit.
This Spirit has a primary agenda: to keep people from engaging with the true spirit of prophecy.
Spiritual sight and vision are the by-products of the Spirit of prophecy, but it is fuelled by “clean hands and a pure heart” – In other words staying free from things that are not our battle and keeping our hearts in step with the Lord.
Right now, the prayer movement and worship movement have paved a way and God is releasing unusual discernment in the Spirit, for the new year of 2022. The Spirit of Revelation knowledge is upon us, and the Lord is visiting with new and clear sight of the days that are coming! However, the church’s confrontation with the religious spirit will be one of the epic battles of the last days.
The conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees is a type of the struggle between the prophetic church and the religious spirit.
Satan entices the church into an outward religious performance where the focus is upon religious activity. The focus of religious activity is upon overcoming the presence of evil in our lives through trying very hard to be good to be accepted by God. The religious spirit substitutes religious activity for the power of the Holy Spirit.
People affected by the religious spirit are feeding from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil instead of the tree of life. They focus upon evil in others and their own good works in themselves. They flatter themselves into believing that they have overcome evil by doing so much good.
It’s when we are at our most passionate stage as a disciple, that we can become very susceptible to this Spirit.
When we are the most eager to please God, we are more susceptible to falling into the snare of the religious spirit. Satan cannot stop the zeal of devout religious people, so he seeks to push them too far into religious excess and fanaticism about their faith. He constantly tempts deeply religious people to become proud of their religious zeal and fervour.
Jesus warned against the “leaven of the Pharisees,” (Matthew 16:6) which is pride. This leaven inflates bread, but it doesn’t add any nutritional value to the bread. It puffs us up by filling us with a sense of pride in our own spirituality and religious attainments like scripture memorisation, Bible knowledge, good works, zeal for God and evangelism.
Someone operating under a religious spirit will proudly assume that they know God and what he wants from us. They become unteachable and impervious to correction. They will think that rebukes and words of correction are for other people but not for them. They are pleasing God, but others are not. This is exactly what the Pharisees did!
The Pharisees focused upon what was wrong with others whilst being blind to their own faults.
They had become harsh, judgmental, unmerciful and without compassion. Religious people are always full of their own self-righteousness. They are quick to draw attention to their own good deeds and abilities and don’t see how they are inflating their own pride through feeling better about how they do things or see things.
A person can have ‘religious flesh’ without having a demon of religion.
A ‘religious spirit’ doesn’t always imply the presence of a demon. It can mean a religious disposition or orientation. However, a person with religious flesh is a prime candidate for receiving a demon of religion.
These religious spirits entice believers into an extreme caricature of their own brand of Christianity that is quirky and offensive to those outside of their own stream. These spirits deliberately foster a sense of elitism and superiority that exalts itself over others outside of their movement. Religious spirits cause church members to keep at arm’s length from other churches. It is possible to tap into the wrong spirit. Paul talked about receiving “a different spirit from the one you received.” (2 Cor. 11:4)
People living under the dominion of a religious spirit have tapped into a false spirit masquerading as the Holy Spirit.
They are living out of a religious spirit that is energising them in their religious activities, instead of living out of the Holy Spirit as a source. The religious spirit seeks to replace the Holy Spirit as the source of spiritual life.
Characteristics of a person with a religious spirit.
1. Performance based approval through religious activity and service.
2. Delighting in self-abasement. (Colossians 2:18)
3. Fault-finding, tearing others down, seeing what is always wrong, trying to fix others, perfectionism
4. Feeling better about ourselves after we have done something good or spiritual
5. Pride in spiritual discipline and good works
6. Looking cool and always coming off as the good or nice guy
7. Comparing ourselves with others
8. Spiritual manifestations to be seen by men
How do we overcome the religious spirit?
1. Develop a secret life before the Lord.
2. Put to death the need for approval and recognition by men.
3. Intercede when you see a problem instead of criticising.
4. Get a revelation of the finished work of Christ and learn to live from His righteousness not your own!
5. Value, uphold and put your treasure on the word of the Lord to your own heart.
6. Uphold love as the ultimate triumph of the grace of Jesus!
7. Value others. Submit to others. Listen and stay humble in your heart. Learn from Jesus.
Prayer for Freedom
We are all Pharisees being healed! Father we pray you continue to show us our vulnerability to this Spirit. Show us Your heart and how free from this You are! We want to be free in the Spirit of Jesus. Deliver us from any false prophetic spirits and false notions of the prophetic gift. Father I pray you convict us of religious behaviours. Needing to be seen of man. Gaining approval from doing things instead of trusting you and building identity in Jesus. Lord I rest in you and your righteousness. I hide in your love and your purity, and I submit to your Holy Spirit. Amen.